Conservatives continue to work to hold Southern Water to account over their ongoing failures to address and prevent issues with sewage flooding parts of Hellngly although Wealden's MP says she's disappointed that certain agencies have failed to provide answers.
In early January, Hellingly residents experienced severe road flooding as well as sewage discharges into some of their gardens. Throughout the incident, Nusrat remained in close contact with Hellingly Parish Council and made several representations to Southern Water, calling for timely support for impacted customers and a full clean-up of their properties.
Given the severity of this incident, representatives from Hellingly Parish Council, Wealden District Council and East Sussex County Council including Highways gathered directly on site in Hellingly to hold Southern Water to account and to discuss the ongoing issues with drainage, and plans and priorities for upgrading the infrastructure including the local pumping station.
Southern Water advised they would be carrying out a Connectivity Study of several hundred households in Hellingly and committed to reviewing flood improvements in the area.
Nusrat Ghani said: “I am pleased that representatives from several local authorities have gathered to discuss the matter, but it is most disappointing that the Environment Agency failed to attend and answer questions about water overspill, and it is appalling that Southern Water were unable to answer basic questions from the Hellingly community and provide promised updates and explanations.
We need Southern Water to do better. I share everyone’s frustration at the lack of preparation and the speed of response when such disruptive events take place in Wealden. It is clear that Southern Water are not investing enough in their infrastructure and have a resilience problem, and I am again incredibly disappointed that lessons do not appear to have been learnt.
I will continue working with Hellingly Parish Council to push for better performance, faster response rate and more investment in critical infrastructure from Southern Water, and for regular updates on resilience and future planning with local communities.”
A Hailsham Conservative county councillor, Gerard Fox, is a supporter of the Conservative Environment Network Changing Course manifesto which includes reform of planning rules to build more reservoirs, fast-track on-farm reservoirs and slurry stores, make water firms statutory consultees on planning applications, and ensuring that new homes have sustainable drainage.
Cllr Fox says: "Since being re-elected in May 2021, I’ve worked with cross-party district councillors to press Southern Water to improve local sewage management.
As chair of the East Sussex Pension Fund, an infrastructure investor, I’ve brought pressure on Southern Water’s investment fund owners to demonstrate responsible stewardship in pressing Southern Water management to resolve these local problems.